Celebrate Cinco Safely: The Holiday Has Become One of the Deadliest Days of the Year in the United States, Texas, and Houston

Celebrate Cinco Safely: The Holiday Has Become One of the Deadliest Days of the Year in the United States, Texas, and HoustonCinco de Mayo is a holiday celebrated by millions of Americans throughout the country. Unfortunately, in many parts of the Southwest, including Houston, it is also one of the deadliest days of the year for car accident fatalities.

Why Do We Celebrate Cinco de Mayo?

Cinco de Mayo is a holiday that marks the victory by Mexican forces over the French army at the battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The battle was part of a larger struggle by Mexico to maintain the independence it had won from Spain approximately 40 years earlier at the conclusion of the Mexican War of Independence in 1821. The decades after Mexico won its independence brought many difficulties and challenges to the new nation, among them the Texas Revolution (1835-36), the Mexican-American War (1846-48) and the Reform War (1858-61), a brutal civil war that pitted reformist and conservative factions in Mexico against one another. The Reform War nearly bankrupted the Mexican treasury, forcing Mexican President Benito Juarez to declare a moratorium on payments of foreign debt for two years. Shortly after the announcement, France, led by Napoleon III (nephew of Napoleon Bonaparte) invaded Mexico as part of an attempt to establish a French empire in South America. At the battle of Puebla, an army of approximately 4,000 Mexican soldiers decisively defeated a group of approximately 6,500-8000 French soldiers, with the victory helping foster Mexican pride and unity and serving as a catalyst for Mexico’s eventual victory over France in the war.

Cinco de Mayo Celebrations in the United States Have Grown, and So Has Alcohol Advertising Focused on the Holiday

Celebration of the Cinco de Mayo holiday in the United States started in California in 1863 and has grown significantly, particularly in the southwest and other parts of the country with large Mexican-American populations. While the holiday in the United States has become a way to celebrate Mexican heritage and Mexican pride, it has also grown into one of the biggest revenue days for alcohol companies. Seeing a marketing opportunity in the 1980s, beer, wine, and tequila companies started running large advertising campaigns centered around the holiday. The advertising appears to have paid off, as according to the New York Times, Cinco de Mayo currently generates beer sales in the United States which are comparable to the Super Bowl.

Cinco de Mayo is One of the Deadliest Days of the Year for Car Accidents in the United States, Texas, and Houston

Unfortunately, the festive nature of Cinco de Mayo, combined with alcohol advertising, has turned it into one of the deadliest days of the year for car accidents in significant portions of the United States, including the greater Houston metro area and the entire State of Texas. According to autoinsurance.org, Cinco de Mayo is the fifth deadliest day of the year for car accident deaths in the United States, with an average of 419 deadly crashes per year in the United States being recorded on the holiday. According to data from the National Highway Safety Administration, Texas is the third leading State in the country for number of car accident fatalities on Cinco de Mayo, averaging about nine car accident deaths per year on the holiday. Houston specifically ranks third in the United States for car accident deaths on Cinco de Mayo, averaging 4 car accident deaths per year on the holiday, behind Tucson and Chicago.

Most Cinco de Mayo Accident Deaths in the United States Are Caused by Drunk or Impaired Driving

According to data collected by the National Highway Safety Administration, nearly 80 percent of the overall deaths from car accidents on Cinco de Mayo are alcohol related. Unfortunately, the data shows a clear correlation between the consumption of alcohol that many engage in as part of celebrating Cinco de Mayo and the fatal car accidents that make this holiday one of the deadliest days of the year on our roads.

When Are Fatal Car Accidents Most Likely to Occur on Cinco de Mayo?

The effect of people consuming alcohol throughout the day and becoming more inebriated as the day goes on are clearly seen in the data regarding when fatal car accidents on Cinco de Mayo occur: 43% of fatal car accidents in the United States on Cinco de Mayo occur in the afternoon and evening between noon and 8 p.m., while another 42% of them occur at night, between the hours of 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Moreover, drunk driving deaths are six times as likely to occur at night on Cinco de Mayo than in the morning.

Along similar lines, the data shows that the highest number of fatal car accidents in the United States on Cinco de Mayo occurs on years when Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday, with the next highest number being on Sunday, and the third highest being on Friday.

What Should I do to Protect Myself as a Driver on Cinco de Mayo?

  • Try to Stay Off the Road Later in the Day; The Later It Gets, the Higher the Risk of Other Drivers Being Intoxicated

If you need to be on the road on Cinco de Mayo, try to complete your driving as early as possible in the day. The nationwide data seems to show that the later in the day it gets, the higher the risk of being involved in a fatal accident on Cinco de Mayo seems to be.

  • Watch for Impaired Drivers

Throughout the day, just like other major holidays, pay extra attention to the drivers around you, especially as it gets later in the day and there is a higher likelihood that more intoxicated drivers are getting on the road.

  • If You Plan on Going Out, Celebrate Responsibly and Don’t Drive Impaired

If you are planning on going out to celebrate the holiday, remember to celebrate responsibly and protect yourself and others by not driving drunk. If you are not sure if you are impaired, don’t take the chance. Call a friend, call a rideshare service, or find some other way to get home which does not involve risking your life and the lives of others on the road. I

  • If You Get in an Accident, Expect Possible Longer Wait Times for Police and Emergency Services

Part of being prepared for any situation means planning for the worst-case scenarios. If driving on Cinco de Mayo, this includes planning for what may happen if you get into a car accident. Part of this planning should include the fact that police and emergency services may take longer than usual to arrive to an accident scene due to the expected larger volume of car accidents and arrests that occurs on Cinco de Mayo compared to an average day.

  • Be Prepared to Document the Crash Scene and Document if the Other Driver is Impaired

In addition to planning for police and emergency service to possibly take longer to arrive to crash scenes on Cinco de Mayo, part of the mental checklist involved in preparing for the worst-case scenarios includes being mentally ready to document the crash scene if you are involved in an accident, including capturing any photos or videos that you believe may show intoxication by the other driver without confronting them or engaging in combative dialogue at the crash scene.

If You Were Hurt in a Car Accident, Contact a Lawyer

If you or someone you know is unfortunate enough to be injured in a crash on Cinco de Mayo, we highly recommend contacting one of our experienced personal injury lawyers to better understand the situation and the legal rights of the injured before talking to the insurance company. Our personal injury attorneys represent people injured in car accidents, including drunk driving accidents and commercial vehicle accidents throughout greater Houston and the surrounding areas, and we have experience successfully representing injured individuals throughout the State of Texas and helping them obtain the compensation they deserve.

This Kishinevsky Law Firm in Houston always offers a free consultation and we represent injured individuals on a contingency fee basis, meaning no money is owed for our legal services and our fees are paid as a portion of the settlement or judgment we obtain on behalf of our clients. To schedule a free consultation, please call or fill out our contact form.

Feliz Cinco de Mayo!